Grand Designs Birmingham
9 – 13 October 2019
With the British autumnal weather in full swing, Grand Designs Live descends on Birmingham’s NEC exhibition hall for it’s second exhibition of 2019, following London’s May event (scroll down for our London review).
We visited on the opening day of the show, with three talks with Kevin McCloud being the headline feature. The first was a discussion on the evolution of the housing market, the second a discussion with the creator of the Grand Designs “Cave House”, and the final a discussion with Kunle Barker about the best moments from 20 years of the Grand Designs show.
The interiors section had a number of different exhibitors from London, and we loved Dappraviation’s unique tables, mirrors and ornaments made from reclaimed aircraft parts.
Garden furniture and accessories is something we love checking out, to find products that match our ranges of garden paving. The Woodee’s stunning artisan fire pits really stood out for us, we could imagine their products sitting really well with a patio made from from our terracotta paving range.
Garden designers Up The Garden Path had an incredibly striking stand, with many wonderful hand drawn garden designs on display with case study photos. Owner David is passionate about gardens and his enthusiasm was warming to see.
The Design & Build forum is a great place for interior inspiration, and we enjoyed Keith Myers discussing great kitchen design.
Back to the floor and the show had some seriously impressive garden buildings from a range of manufacturers, making choosing any favourites a really tough task.
Breeze House, with their luxurious thatched gazebos and garden living structures, had a display that we stood in awe of for some time. Really beautiful products finished to a very high standard and without a doubt one of the best of the show.
We ended our first day at the show with a visit to the Mighty Spice stand to stock up on our favourite Indian curry pastes.
Grand Designs London
Our review of the Excel London show from May 2019, including a full video blog of the event.
The award winning Grand Designs Live event, now in it’s 11th year of running, took place this year in London ExCel from 4th – 12th May. We visited the show to find inspiration, discover exciting brands and meet new people.
For 2019 the exhibition was organised into 6 project zones, giving visitors the chance to group ideas together, the themed areas made it easy to explore new products and gain valuable expertise.
One of our highlights was the “Green Heroes” display, where Kevin McCloud personally chooses the best conceptual and eco-friendly construction ideas. 2019’s selected products included a sound system made of clay, moss tiles and incredible lighting made from the unique voronoi arrangements seen amongst forest canopies.
Watch the video to view our favourite moments of the exhibition.
Exploring @ Grand Designs Live
This year’s Gardens project zone was sponsored by Hydropool, a luxury hot tub company who had a dazzling display.
RHS award winner Jack Dunckley‘s work really caught our eye, with his distinctive and stylish garden design.
Skyline Grower‘s self watering plant pots were an impressive innovation, with a stylish range of urban gardening products for both indoor and outdoor settings.
The Build section featured suppliers for self builds and renovations, where we found a lot of emphasis on sustainable and eco-friendly solutions.
We had conversations with many of the architects present, marvelling at the beautiful and progressive home and garden ideas.
Foster Lomas had their beautiful architectural hand drawings on display, and we spent lots of time pouring over the fine details of the scale model visions by Burrell & Mistry, Waterhouse Dransfield, RHJB and Morton Scarr. We really liked the way Studio 31 displayed their previous work on picture postcards.
The Interiors hall was packed full of original and unique home decor, from designers and brands not available on the high street.
Wandering through the vibrant mix of styles, textures and colours here was thoroughly enjoyable.
We couldn’t resist trying out the Big Boy Bean Bags, featured on Dragons Den and they certainly are as comfy as the dragons made out!
Being lovers of gastronomy, we just had to make more than one visit through the food hall, where we found an amazing choice of flavours from around the globe.
Our personal highlight here was Mighty Spice‘s incredible quick cook curry sauces from Goa, India. Having spent time in that country, we can confirm that these are some of the most authentic curry sauces we’ve ever tasted in the UK.
We were also coerced by a very friendly gentlemen into sampling O’Donnell Moonshine, a rather naughty tipple in some surprisingly original flavours – Toblerone in a glass and marzipan Christmas cake liqueur!
It was lovely to hear a friendly Welsh accent on the Snowdonia Cheese Company stand, where we polished off a couple of wonderful samples (partially to soak up the moonshine).
We spoke to…
A short thanks to everyone we had conversations with who kindly allowed us to film their event stands for this blog.
Foster Lomas – architects
Skyline Grower – self watering plant pots
Burrell & Mistry – architects
Spry Candles – home aromas
Snowdonia Cheese – UK produce
Bose – home audio
Studio 31 – architects
Jack Dunckley – garden designer
O’Donnell Moonshine – flavoured liqueurs
Secret Lighting Company – hidden interior lighting
Big Boy Bean Bags – super comfy bean bags
Hydropool – luxury hot tubs
Omia – home furniture
Stoke Park Developments – building and renovation
Waterhouse Dransfield – architects
Yurts For Life – luxury yurts
RHJB – architects
Morton Scarr – architects
Creative Station – retro gaming
Mighty Spice – Indian cuisine
Mango Crafts – home furniture
Sited on 100 acres, the ExCel London exhibition centre was built by Sir Robert McAlpine and first opened it’s doors in November 2000. The centre was acquired by Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company in 2008.
ExCel now hosts a huge variety of interests throughout the year, being an Olympic venue as well as boxing, triathlon, comiccon and motorsport events.
We manufacture our own hand made stone tiles, suitable for both modern & traditional interiors.
Our UK hand made flagstones help create beautiful outdoor spaces for garden patios and commercial projects.